Each year, a week, deemed Safety Stand-Down, is dedicated to prevent falls in construction. According to OSHA, fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 351 of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded by the BLS in 2020. These deaths were preventable. However, falls can occur anywhere, whether on the job or not. That is why it is important to raise fall hazard awareness across the country. The goal is to eventually stop fall fatalities and injuries for good. 

What is a Safety Stand-Down?

OSHA defines Safety Stand-Down as a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on “fall hazards” and reinforcing the importance of “fall protection”.

Ideas for Holding a Safety Stand-Down

  • Conducting a toolbox talk

  • Organize a safety activity - safety equipment inspection, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards

  • Clarify company’s safety policies, goals and expectations

  • Execute an open discussion between the employer and employees about hazards and/or protective methods 

Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful Stand-Down

OSHA provided eight tips to follow when preparing a Stand-Down to ensure that it is a success. 

  • Try to start preparations early. Designate a coordinator to organize the activity or event. If you have multiple work sites, delegate individuals at each site to lead the stand-down.

  • Think about asking subcontractors, architects, or others associated with your project to participate in the stand down.

  • Consider reviewing your fall prevention program. This will support a more effective stand-down. 

  • Develop presentations or activities that will meet the needs of your organization. Decide what information will fit your employees and workplace best. Hands-on exercises are also a great way to reinforce the information and encourage participation. 

  • Decide when to hold the stand-down and how long it will last. 

  • Promote the stand-down. Make it interesting and exciting to employees. Providing snacks or another incentive can increase participation.

  • Hold the stand-down. Make it as positive and interactive as possible. Let your employees talk openly about their experiences and encourage them to share suggestions. 

  • Follow up. Get feedback from everyone who participated to identify ways to improve your fall prevention program. Consider making any needed changes. 

Additional Resources